Comcast to power free Wi-Fi at Niners’ new Levi’s Stadium

Who’s got better Wi-Fi than we do? Nobody! Under terms of a 10-year deal announced today, cable giant Comcast will provide backbone services and free Wi-Fi to the San Francisco 49ers’ new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., scheduled to open this summer. The wide-ranging agreement, which also will see Comcast providing in-stadium video and Internet services as well as voice services for the stadium operations, includes an on-site studio where Comcast’s regional sports network will produce shows, invariably including a lot of 49ers-based content, especially on game days.

No terms of the deal were announced, but for fans who want to stay connected at Levi’s, the twin 10 Gbps backbone pipes Comcast will bring in should be sufficient bandwidth even if everyone in all 68,500 seats fires up an iPhone, iPad or Android device. The sponsorship deal also answers one of the questions surrounding the Niners’ ambitious networking plans for Levi’s, mainly how they were going to pay for their robust Wi-Fi. Answer: They’re letting Comcast foot the bill, partially in exchange for the rights to control video feeds to all of Levi’s extensive digital displays.

The mission for Levi’s Stadium has always been to create an unparalleled gameday experience through the use of innovative technology,” said 49ers CEO Jed York in a prepared statement. “Comcast is the perfect partner to help us achieve that goal, as the services they provide will allow our fans to customize their individual stadium experience through the use of their own mobile devices.”

“Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Levi’s Stadium will feature new and exciting ways for the team’s fervent and tech-savvy fan base to experience a live event, from ubiquitous WiFi to innovative mobile applications and rich video content,” said Bill Stemper, President, Comcast Business, in the same press release. “This partnership is representative of how Comcast, by deploying our full suite of consumer and business products, can deliver reliable, high-capacity Internet connectivity for fans, media and stadium employees while supporting various multimedia initiatives.”

Comcast now joins a growing list of technology sponsors for the Niners’ new digs, including software giant SAP, networking hardware vendor Brocade, semiconductor giant Intel, and TV maker Sony. What should be interesting is to see how the Niners’ deal with Yahoo over digital content either conflicts or doesn’t with the new Comcast deal.

While there’s probably still room for more vendors on the sponsor train, the Comcast deal is a huge one when it comes to the big question facing a lot of stadium owners and operators these days, namely how do you pay for Wi-Fi and other networking installments? The answer here is, find a dedicated partner who already does this for a living and who also has a related business — a regional sports network — that can also benefit from a close relationship.


  1. […] would provide some huge pipes — twin 10 Gbps Ethernet fiber lines — as part of its Wi-Fi sponsorship deal with the Niners and Levi’s Stadium. But the Niners, Tighe said, know that their new stadium […]

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